The Creation in Christ

All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
— John 1:3-4

The life of which I have spoken became light to men in the appearing of him in whom it came into being. The life became a light that men might see it, and themselves live by choosing that life also, by choosing so to live, such to be. There is always something deeper than anything said, something through which the central reality shines more or less plainly. Light itself is but the poor outside form of a deeper, better thing, namely, life. The life is Christ. The light too is Christ, but only the body of Christ. The life is Christ himself. The light is what we see and shall see in him; the life is what we may be in him. The obedient human God appeared as the obedient divine man, doing the works of his father—the things, that is, which his father did—doing them humbly before unfriendly brethren. The Son of the Father must take his own form in the substance of flesh, that he may be seen of men, and so become the light of men—not that men may have light, but that men may have life; that through the life that is in them, they may begin to hunger after the life of which they are capable, and which is essential to their being; that the life in them may long for him who is their life, and thirst for its own perfection, even as root and stem may thirst for the flower for whose sake, and through whose presence in them, they exist. That the child of God may become the son of God by beholding the Son, the life revealed in light; that the radiant heart of the Son of God may be the sunlight to his fellows; that the idea may be drawn out by the presence and daring of the Ideal—that Ideal, the perfect Son of the Father, was sent to his brethren.

Commentary

Life In Him
Life In Us

by Stephen Carney

“The life became a light that men might see it, and themselves live by choosing that life also, by choosing so to live, such to be.  There is always something deeper than anything said, something through which the central reality shines more or less plainly," writes MacDonald.  In Jesus was the life, and “the life was the light of all mankind.” (John 1)  Jesus was, as the creed states “begotten of the Father” and therefore was handed down to us, not as something newly created, but rather as being from God and begotten from the very life that was in the Father.  Lewis puts it like this, “We don't use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean.  To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this.  When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds.  But when you make, you make something of a different kind from your self.  A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set-or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set; say, a statue...But, of course it is not a real man...What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man.”

 Here lies an important truth that I think both MacDonald and Lewis are trying to convey.  The life that comes to man from God is that which is God.  “In Him was the life...” and that life is poured into the being of man, who is made in the image of God.  God has given us a natural life, if one can call it that, being that we were made by the hand of God, but he also is wanting to pour into us the life that is in himself.  This is the life eternal that we are all longing for.  Our “natural” life wanes, sputters, and dies.  But the life that is in him is everlasting, and strong enough to put a resiliency in us that can cause us to rise up against the greatest of difficulties, because the power of that is life is from God and not from ourselves. 

This is vital, as we must draw upon the life that is in him and allow its health to shine forth.  The life creates the light.  When others see the light in us, they are seeing an effervescent life burning from an unseen source.  God is alive within us and we with “cloven tongues of fire” are set ablaze to be a light to the world.  People wonder at those whose life force is so strong that they seemingly burn brightest in the most trying of times.  But that is the power that is God's, that is him at work in us, and not we ourselves.  We cannot go around bragging about our life in him, nor the light that shines.  In fact, those that burn the brightest, having the strongest force of life, are the least aware of it.  They just live in him, following, loving, caring, being, sharing, standing, proclaiming and blessing the world around them.  They don't even realize they are doing something big for God, they just shine and live out the life.  Again, Lewis in Mere Christianity, says, “They are not thinking of it.  They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes.”  To be swept up in a life that is bigger and grander than our own is to be living the greatest of all lives.  To look into the face of God is to forget ourselves completely and to be truly free of one's self, and therefore free to truly live and be alive.